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How to Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge

Blank Law, PC Team

How to Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge

Although disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, many states consider it a serious criminal offense. It can cause trouble for you in the future, as you may have a criminal record for a long time. Therefore, if you are facing criminal charges for disorderly conduct, you should contact a lawyer as quickly as possible to preserve your reputation and freedom.

While a disorderly conduct conviction may not attract a jail sentence, you may be required to pay a fine. In addition, you may be subject to probation and risk losing your work license if you are a professional. You may also be sentenced to community service.

So, before you plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge because it is a minor offense, consider getting the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A good lawyer can keep you out of jail and help you fight disorderly conduct charges.

How to Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge

As with other criminal charges for misdemeanors, it is possible to fight most disorderly conduct charges. With an excellent defense strategy, you can get the court to dismiss the charges against you or conclude the trial in your favor.

Developing a solid defense strategy requires considerable skill and effort. It also needs a thorough understanding of the law and a detailed investigation. Even though disorderly conduct may not be considered as serious as other crimes like what is statutory rape, murder, or fraud, you should consider seeking expert guidance from professional criminal defense attorneys.

At Blank Law, PC, we have extensive experience helping defendants beat disorderly conduct charges against them. Our proven track record of confidentiality and excellence makes us trustworthy and shows how much we value the attorney-client relationship privilege. We are committed to providing the best legal services to people facing criminal charges in Michigan. Contact us for a free consultation today.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct covers a broad range of offenses, including fighting publicly, using vulgar words, and public intoxication. It may also be described as a public disturbance. MCL 750.167 criminalizes disorderly conduct in Michigan. Under the law, disorderly conduct may best be likened to vagrancy and constituting a nuisance publicly.

According to Michigan criminal law, disorderly conduct refers to the following types of behavior:

  • Failing to support your family even though you are capable of working
  • Vagrancy
  • Engaging in illicit activities
  • Loitering around public places, such as police stations, jails, hospitals, courthouses, soliciting as a bail bondsman or lawyer
  • Hanging around places of prostitution or being a prostitute
  • Being a “peeping Tom”
  • Interrupting a funeral or public event
  • Displaying drunken behavior in public and disturbing or endangering others
  • Rioting or joining a protest
  • Hanging out in places where illegal business is conducted
  • Jostling or crowding people in public places unnecessarily
  • Engaging in lewd or indecent conduct publicly, like nudity, among others (see: indecent exposure Michigan and gross indecency Michigan)

You will not be charged with disorderly conduct for engaging in prostitution, as it constitutes a separate crime, but being a prostitute may be considered disorderly conduct. What the law criminalizes in this instance is your status as a prostitute and not that you were caught engaging in the act itself. For this, you should seek a top prostitution lawyer.

Prostitute waiting for client on the street

A disorderly conduct charge is usually brought with other prohibited acts or criminal offenses. For example, people are typically charged with disorderly conduct for exhibiting drunken behavior in public and causing a public disturbance.

Physical harm need not occur before you face a disorderly conduct charge. Law enforcement officers largely determine whether or not a person’s conduct would be considered disorderly conduct. Thus, what would constitute disorderly conduct in one instance may not be regarded as such in another, depending on the law enforcement officer. In many disorderly conduct cases, police officers arrest people for behavior that may not be particularly described as a crime, but are offensive to the public.

Disorderly conduct may occur in a public or private place. It may be regarded as domestic violence when it happens in the home, which is a more severe offense (see domestic violence Michigan). It may be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances, and also attracts harsher penalties.

What are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct?

The penalty for disorderly conduct is a jail term of up to 90 days, a $500 fine, or both. You may also be subjected to probation or mandatory community service. A conviction may also be on your criminal record.

Arrested man in handcuffs with handcuffed hands behind back in prison

Subsequent convictions attract harsher penalties. Also, where it involves firearms, it is considered a more severe criminal offense and carries a harsher sentence. Disorderly conduct amounting to domestic violence may be punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, or both.

Are there Legal Defenses to Disorderly Conduct Charges?

Even though disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, it is crucial that you put up a defense. You risk paying a fine, compulsory community service, probation, and jail time if you are convicted. Also, it may be on your criminal record, which could affect your accessibility to gainful employment and housing, among others. Therefore, you ought to build a solid defense plan.

Generally, there are three primary defenses to a disorderly conduct charge. They are:

Involuntary Actions

If you can establish that you were not in control of yourself and acted involuntarily in that situation, it may amount to a legal defense against a disorderly conduct charge. However, you must show that you had a medical condition or other legitimate cause.


If the behavior was due to self-defense, it might serve as a suitable defense. However, you must show that you suffered physical harm or anything requiring defense.

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is the most common defense against disorderly conduct charges. If you are arrested because of vulgar or obscene language, you can claim your right to freedom of speech as a defense. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects your freedom of speech and gives you the right to express yourself or your emotions freely. Therefore, it could be a defense in disorderly conduct cases.

Do You Need an Attorney to Beat Disorderly Conduct Charges?

So, why are criminal defense lawyers important? Even though disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, it would be best if you had the expertise and guidance of a criminal defense attorney. Treating disorderly conduct charges lightly can be tempting, but you need to act quickly and effectively to beat the charges.

Also, you do not have to plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge if you can put up an excellent criminal defense at trial. Hiring an experienced attorney will improve your chances of avoiding a conviction. A lawyer can advise you on the best defense in your particular case and help you beat disorderly conduct charges.

Hire Blank Law, PC

If you or your loved one has been arrested for disorderly conduct, you need to hire an attorney as soon as possible (see when should I call an attorney here). Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is an experienced criminal defense attorney with a unique advantage as a former prosecutor. It is her mission to defend her clients and give them an improved chance at success in criminal cases.

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Over the years, Nicole has helped several criminal defendants beat disorderly conduct charges and avoid soiling their reputations permanently. She strongly emphasizes the attorney-client relationship and is committed to protecting her client’s confidentiality. Also, Nicole can help you develop an excellent criminal defense strategy for fighting disorderly conduct charges with an increased chance of success. Schedule your free consultation with her today.

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Troy, MI Office
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Troy, MI 48083

Phone: 248-515-6583

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